Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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stepping onto grass

a sip of camomile to soften nerves
as though a quiet moment on the porch
observing fire flies punctuate the trees
could travel through cloud rain
to touch a friend
like me a score or so ago
now waiting for the sun
to shiver start the day
mind’s eye reaching for
the girl child of my heart
lace tokening her gaze
unruly brother brought to sudden tears
on catching sight
of unanticipated beauty
tethered by her father’s arm
last moments as the impish girl
who stood upon his feet to waltz
then stepping sure on sea scent grass
to speak her promises
and dance love wrapped
as woman, on her way

________________________________
twenty three years on, that lovely day still resonates, the union it produced a loving one. for Lisa.


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for the taking

perhaps the stars
hold memories
diamond pinholes
punched in winter black
life stretched
across infinity
expanding overhead
even as my focus
might be squeezing in
and only looking back
a tempting counterweight
to shrinking time
well nuts to that
I’ll take the milky way
with thanks
refusing blinkered days
or thoughts
and will not shut
all possibility away
this heart and soul
are slated to remain
open for business
indefinitely


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the night ship

there are times the moon
invades my room
as opal fingered fog
touching eyes and skin
and as the night sets sail
around me into sleep
I sense joyous dreams
that dance just out of reach
or sober trailers on the fringe
unwelcome memories to push away
tear welded flashes
from the day just lived
but not now not yet
as life’s flow
starts to telescope
slow sinuous twisting
to its vanishing point
each night explodes with color
and a shadow life
of longing
whose breadcrumb bursts
stay with me
as the sun returns
in counterpoint
to unquiet rest


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witches moon

there is a moon
that reaches back in time
to sit quite full alongside
backlit clouds
that boost the light
cast onto curved tile roof
and night gray city street
our last call crocodile
glides on to bed and quiet dark
obedient walkers all
despite their adolescent hearts
raving under brown tweed shells
my mind afire I long for
for home’s imagined warmth
yet balance on the cusp
of life to come
un ruled un uniformed
and dream of flying free
certain of that magic
reaching out to touch
this lunar wave
a witches moon to rile
my adolescent soul
its glow a path
I’ve wandered
ever since

_______________________________
the title of this poem has been a companion for many years. I am very grateful that it waited for me and for the poem to catch up.

sunset in a small town


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passing through town to home

the day has changed from bright
to scrims of clouds washed sky blue pink
backdrop to summer quiet playing fields

further south a sidelong glance
at underbelly clouds thick swathed peach red
flying over marshes at the river curve

in town the day is winding down
cars and people move intent on fuel
and food and rest for it’s been hot

and by the time the single light releases me
to turn due west deep pink to purple blasts
are shouting over pines and spires

I steal a look into our cafe’s glow
observe last patient walks for dogs
church supper signs and flags

the colors quickly leach away
though day’s end light remains enough
to cover hilly rattle roads

then rollercoasting mountain arms
a final sling to home beside the pond
in time to greet a rising moon

_____________________________________
even though going through town takes longer, I love to observe and watch along the way. the other night the stages of what proved to be a spectacular sunset were a marvelous backdrop to my small country town in the middle of summer.

beauty of white against dark green


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litany

what don’t I remember?
my collier brother brain
hoards words and time
with colors joining hands
to sing their song

I don’t remember
any moment spent
without a color wash
intensity of thought

I don’t remember
understanding those who hate
preferring to destroy
instead of build

I don’t remember
living days or nights
without a music counterpoint
embers into torches lighting memory

I don’t remember
sunsets painted on the undersides
of clouds or nature come to flower
without feeling joy almost to tears

______________________________________
A leftover prompt, from Day 29. Things remembered, and what they weren’t.


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morning as palindrome

as words begin their dance
glancing out at spring
sitting down at last to write
confident of its receipt
asking for serenity
another day a perfect gift
reflecting and give thanks
I close my eyes to sip
hand cupping warmth
coffee and the ritual of smell
checking lilacs apple buds
birds scatter at the noise
opening the outer door
woods featureless and flat
moving softly hug the quiet
slightly damp delight
one slipper at a time
morning work for dogs
stretch sloughing sleep’s cement
a feather shawl to float away
night journey remnants linger
as clouds replace the sun
light diffuse and gray
dog nose to tail against my arm
first awareness as I wake
a dream departs

________________________________
Day 28. I loved writing this. The prompt was for an event or story in reverse.


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night lit

my woods are hung
with lamp lit moonlight
shallow beaver wash
turned into opal pools
picked out by
beams that launched
diffused through
vapor rings we know
are ice but touch
us softly

__________________________
Day 22. We have just had a full moon, fitting for the week of Earth Day.


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following awareness

coming up the hill
toward my kitchen door
on greening grass
almost tintless
in the growing dark
I chase my shadow
in moonlight
just strong enough
to make me glad
it is not chasing me

___________________________
Day 19. A shortling about coming home in fading light and a risen moon.


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the finalists

november days turn dim and cold
as we slide down to pinprick light
and brace our souls for longest dark,
rich colors chasing flocks of migrant birds
cruel times for light starved eyes
yet worse there is the maiden month
that masks her fangs,
bright ribbons trailing barely warming breeze
summoning new green and crocus cups
to come and greet the sun
then tosses back her cape
revealing claws
which hold my frozen daffodills,
and shrieks her name in falling snow
oh yes sweet april there is no doubt
you take the prize

________________________________
The NaPoWriMo prompt for day 4 was our choice of cruelest month (after T.S. Elliot). Watching snow encase my daffodills this morning, and birds become intent on seeds again, the winner, hands down (at least this year) is April.


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snow terrarium

I stand stock still
snared by this
unaccustomed silence,
backlit in a pool
of warmth and kitchen light,
looking out to darkness
now made intimate
by thick falling snow,
soundproofing all
beyond its edge
until a car appears,
creeping down the mountain arm,
headlights reaching through
lace curtained flakes
wheels soundless on
the road now masked by white
a traveler almost surely blind
determination understood
and much admired by me,
we share this moment
and our quiet space
until my door is shut again
and he has passed us by

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the world is well lost and soundless when it snows here. like an infant’s view of life our boundaries shrink for a bit.